YOUR FESTIVAL GUIDES & EVENT PRESENTERS
( For the excellent speakers in 2022 - see the seperate speakers page )
Dr Tonia Cochran
Inala Nature Tours is a Bruny Island based tour company and travel agency that specialises in designing wildlife tours around Australia. Many of their clients are birdwatchers, so Inala guides need to have specialist birdwatching knowledge and skills. All of Inala’s Tasmanian guides are local Bruny Islanders or people with a long association with Bruny Island and a detailed knowledge of where to find birds here. And they are also all jolly nice people! So we are confident that you will be in capable but friendly hands. Dr. Tonia Cochran is the Managing Director, owner and main travel consultant and guide for Inala Nature Tours. She has been a resident of Bruny Island for 25 years and has specifically designed a range of tours for the Bruny Bird Festival which will showcase Bruny’s amazing birds. Opportunities for viewing seabirds, shorebirds, waterbirds and bush birds as well as a good chance of seeing several threatened bird species are all covered in the range of tours that are on offer. Some of these tours, such as a birding tour around Tonia’s 1,500 acre private wildlife sanctuary “Inala” are rarely offered. Tonia has a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Melbourne and has been guiding and designing wildlife and birding tours for the past 20 years. Before that she was a Marine Biologist with the Australian Antarctic Division and participated in 7 research voyages to sub Antarctica and the Antarctic continent. She lives at “Inala” but spends a lot of time away leading tours around Australia, speaking at Ecotourism and Birding conferences around the world and getting involved with wildlife documentaries. In her spare time she is also heavily involved with threatened species conservation and is part of the National Recovery team for the Forty-spotted Pardalote and Eagle (Wedge-tailed and White-bellied Sea Eagle) programs. She will be personally leading some of the tours on offer, and generally available throughout the weekend to answer questions and have a chat.
We invite you to join the tours on offer and meet our team. All levels of birding skills are welcome and we will make sure that you really enjoy your tour AND see some great birds and learn heaps! We look forward to seeing you there!
See the Inala website for biographies on each of the Inala guides www.inalanaturetours.com.au
Dr Eric Woehler - BirdLife Tasmania
Dr Eric Woehler has been researching seabirds and shorebirds for more than 40 years, with more than 150 peer-reviewed papers. His primary research effort has been on Southern Ocean seabirds, both at-sea and at their colonies, and he has also collected and collated an extensive data set on Tasmania's resident shorebirds. Eric has spent more than 600 days at sea undertaking seabird and marine mammal surveys. For 29 years, he has undertaken surveys of beaches around Tasmania, mapping more than 8000 shorebird nests and breeding territories, and surveyed small tern colonies. His talks will introduce shorebirds, Little Penguins and Short-tailed Shearwaters in Tasmania.
Bob Graham - BIEN
Bob Graham is convenor of BIEN and has worked in and enjoyed many different areas of Australia from tropical North Queensland to SW Tasmania. Growing up in North West Tasmania he thought that birds were either, sparrows, seagulls or crows. That changed in the '70s after a trip to the Coorong with dedicated 'Birdo' friends. Since then birds have become an integral part of both his every day and professional life. After purchasing Karingal (a bush block with dilapidated farmhouse) on Bruny in 1977, Bob says that "getting to know the birds, their habits and their ever changing behaviour from season to season and year to year in and around the 'block' has been one of the most rewarding exepriences of my life".
As a professional geographer and planner, the relationship of birds to where they live, how they survive and how they cope with environmental change has been an ongoing fascination for Bob. Working for over 40 years in diverse environments such as Lord Howe Island, North Queensland, SE Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, the Darwin Region, throughout Tasmania and on several national projects has allowed Bob to enjoy many different birding experiences. At the same an interest in birds and their relationships with the natural world have made Bob aware of the tenuous hold that many species have in a world which places more value on developing land for creating economic wealth rather than wise stewardship that respects and values birds and their habitats.
Since moving to Bruny to live full time in 2000, Bob continues to learn more about the local birds, their daily lives and how they respond to even minor changes in their environment. With his wife Marg, Bob has put a lot of effort into allowing the local bush on Karingal to re-establish itself and provide a safe haven for the many bird and animal species that share the land with them. Since getting together with a group of like minded people to establish BIEN, Bob has been involved in a number of activities that have helped to educate locals and visitors about birds and to celebrate and look after the wonderful bird life on the Island. Bob will be guiding the Beach to Bush walks. www.bien.org.au
Dr Andrew Hingston
Andrew has lived in Tasmania and been studying our birds all of his life. He bought his first pair of binoculars from a second-hand shop when he was 10 years old. Following this passion led him to a Bachelor of Science in Forest Ecology at the University of Tasmania. He then did an Honours degree investigating the invasion and impact of a feral bumblebee in Tasmania, and the ecology of Tasmania's native bees. Following this, he completed his Ph.D. on the bird and insect pollinators of Tasmanian Blue Gums which included studies into the now Critically Endangered swift parrot.
Andrew is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania, a position which has entailed supervising a student's Masters thesis on the importance of suburban trees as food sources for swift parrots, providing guest lectures to post-graduate students, and continuing his research into the impacts of feral bumblebees. That research prompted the Invasive Species Council Australia to award him the 2006 ‘Vigilance of Weeds and Ferals Award’. He also works periodically as a research assistant at the University of Tasmania, investigating such topics as pollinators of eucalypts and the potential for eucalypt plantations to inter-breed with native forest trees. He has previously worked as a botanist, mapping Tasmanian alpine vegetation. Along with his guiding work at Inala, most of his recent employment has involved running Forestry Tasmania's investigations into the responses of birds to timber harvesting in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forests.
Dr Hingston's peer-reviewed scientific articles include:
Hingston AB, Wotherspoon S (2017) Introduced social bees reduce nectar availability during the breeding season of the Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor). Pacific Conservation Biology 23, 52-62.
Hingston AB, Piech M (2011) Parrots, people and plants: urban tree removal and habitat loss for the endangered Swift Parrot, Lathamus discolor. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 145, 1-4.
Hingston AB, Piech M (2011) Eucalypt flower production in the suburbs and bush: implications for the endangered Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor. Pacific Conservation Biology 17, 338-346.
Hingston AB et al. (2004) How specialized is the plant-pollinator association between Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus and the swift parrot Lathamus discolor? Austral Ecology 29, 624-630.
Hingston AB et al. (2004) The swift parrot Lathamus discolor (Psittacidae), social bees (Apidae) and native insects as pollinators of Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus (Myrtaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 52, 371-379.
Cat is a nature guide in the Inala guiding team.
Before Inala, Cat worked in Lamington National Park in lush subtropical Queensland as a bird guide and prior to that as a war & wildlife tour guide in the remote and windswept Falkland Islands. Cat has travelled widely and has a passionate and diverse background in nature guiding.
Initially coming down to speak at the Bruny Bird Festival, Cat was immediately smitten by the island and has now moved here with her partner to continue to soak up the magic.
Cat is also the coordinator for this years Bruny Island Bird Festival - Contact her here
Paul Brooks has lived in Tasmania all his life and has always been interested in the natural world. This interest led him to study for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Tasmania, majoring in zoology. It was during this time that his love of birds and birding took off and he has birded extensively across the state for 15 years, becoming very familiar with the calls, behaviour and habitats of Tasmania’s avifauna.
Since 2012, Paul has organised and led pelagic birding trips from Eaglehawk Neck, on the Tasman Peninsula, and began his guiding for Inala Nature Tours.
Paul volunteers his time reviewing Tasmanian submissions for eBird Australia and as a moderator for the rare bird reporting website Birdline Tasmania. He also volunteers for wader counts and BioBlitzes around the state when he can.
p.s - Paul has his best serious pelagic face on for this photo, dont worry he is very friendly
Dr Catherine Young
Catherine is a member of the Inala Nature Tours guiding team and brings with her a wealth scientific knowledge. As a PhD graduate in behavioural ecology (investigating the private lives of crimson finches), Catherine has over 12 years’ experience as a research biologist including two years with Save the Gouldian Fund and six years on the Australian Bird Study Association committee. Catherine’s research has enabled her to work on a variety of taxa and environments across the world from the UK and South Africa to Australia. Her work within Australia has taken her to the arid zone, seabird islands, the tropical north-west, Sydney, Melbourne and finally to Tasmania (back to the tropics and to Tassie again!).
Outside of guiding, Catherine assists with Tasmanian based research by the Australian National University, Macquarie University and the University of Canterbury (NZ). In addition to this she also holds an Honorary Research Associate position at the University of Tasmania, through which she is involved in a number of projects from Tasmanian devils and quolls to wedge-tailed eagles. This includes her own project, based out of Hobart, monitoring woodland birds and providing training opportunities for researchers.
Karen joined the Inala team in 2017 and has been a very keen birder all her life. Before Karen became a guide at the Bruny Bird Festival as a guide she has attended many times before as a participant.
She is a highly motivated, enthusiastic environmental specialist with more than twenty five years’ experience of ecology, environmental management, research and education, with specialist expertise in ecology, ecological impact assessment, ornithology, biodiversity conservation, and sustainability issues. She has practised ecology since 1988, and has worked on projects in a variety of countries around the world. Karen relocated with her family from the UK to Tasmania in 2012.
Living in Hobart, she is at the beating heart of a network of Tasmanian Birders and continually traverses the whole state both on guided tours and for her own birding pleasure.
Ramit Singal has a keen interest in several aspects of natural history. An engineering graduate, his interests have led him to pursue a career that keeps him amongst nature. He has extensive experience with wildlife-based projects involving long-term monitoring and surveys of birds, frogs, snakes, and mammals in India. He has also been involved in projects on community engagement, nature education, and citizen science.
He is an easygoing and careful birder, with a sound knowledge of bird calls and habitat. His favourite places to bird in are South Asia, and Tasmania. He helps maintain the eBird India database, and also manages some of the text and media for the Merlin App. Ramit has authored books on birds (A Birder’s Handbook to Manipal), produced an acoustic guide to frog calls, and described 3 new species of frogs.
Renowned broadcaster, writer and ecologist Sally Bryant has supported the festival since its inception and runs very popular tours which often involve one of her great passions, the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote.